What Was Apple Thinking When They Decided to Offer a $4.99 Apple Music Subscription?


What Was Apple Thinking When They Decided to Offer a $4.99 Apple Music Subscription?


Maybe rethink that one?

Screenshot by Author

Part of Apple’s October 2021 announcements was that they are now offering a $4.99/ month Apple Music subscription. That’s cheap, but there’s a big catch: it’s voice only.

It took me a beat to realize that they meant Siri only. That is, with this subscription you can’t browse Apple Music or search by typing in songs or artists; you’d have to ask Siri to play what you want. Plainly this is intended to help sell HomePod Minis, though Apple didn’t say that you couldn’t use it with your phone or iPad.

$4.99 is a lot less than the ten or fifteen bucks most people pay Apple or Spotify. There’s another catch too: the $4.99 subscription doesn’t get you spatial audio, lossless, playlists, and more.

My instantaneous reaction was “Good luck, you’ll need it!” I have read too many stories of people who were frustrated when trying to ask for music. Most of them were trying more complicated searches like “Sonata I. D Major for Two Pianos, K.448” which I suppose is a bit harder than “I Got You Babe”, but still: Voice only Siri sounds like a bad joke.

I’ve experienced Sir’s poor understanding while driving. Just yesterday I had an urge to hear “Christmas/Sarajevo” while driving home from grocery shopping, but I could not get Siri to do that no matter how many insults I heaped upon her headless non-life form.

My car is a Subaru Forester, a high end luxury car well known for its whisper silent ride.. umm, no. It can be noisy at highway speeds. Still, I was annoyed because I’ve asked for other music and have had success. Does Siri not recognize “Sarajevo”? I tried it as “Sarah-Hey-Vo” and then I gave up. Well, after once more dressing down the useless clown for her poor performance.

When I got home, I tried speaking to the air just to prove to myself that voice only Music is an idiotic concept, but to my surprise, the “Christmas Sarajevo” played from my Mini stereo pair. Huh? What gives? Or what gave, I guess?

A fluke, of course. I looked in my Apple Music library for something more challenging and found that “Sonata I. D Major for Two Pianos, K.448”. Chew on this, invisible incompetent voice assistant!

Damned if she didn’t even hesitate: the Minis switched to the pianos.

Well, that fried my cajoles. No inept AI wannabe is going to make a fool of me. I have a scathing article to write wherein I will expose your every fault, Missy!

I scanned my library looking for difficult titles. At every turn, Siri and the Minis delivered the goods. I pounded my fists on my desk and howled in pain. This was wrong! Wrong, wrong, horribly wrong!

And then I got her. I showed her up for the bumble-head she is. It was so simple: I said, “Hey Siri, play Shaddup You Face”

Yeah, that’s what she should have played. But she stupidly played “Shutup Your Face” by CFA. Not even close, Siri! Not even effing close.

There was no need to continue. I had unequivocally proved that Voice Only Apple Music is not worth even considering. It’s a farce, a boondoggle, a waste of money. I left Siri weeping softly and manually switched to a podcast.

There, I’ve saved you a bit of trouble, I imagine. Should you wish to heap effusive praise upon me, you may do so in the comments or, if you have subscribed to receive these posts by email, you can respond privately from your mailbox.

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